Is it the lack of revival and spiritual life in our own country that is the reason why more Norwegians do not become missionaries?
In 1675 a book was published. The “Pious Advertisement” and spread rapidly, and was to prove to be a completely European to our time. It was written by Philipp Spener (1635–1705) and is today considered the original script of pietism.
Spener, who was a trained theologian, believed that the Christian faith had to give practical results in a Christian way of life. He reacted to what he believed was a hardened and dead faith in the Lutheran churches.
Eventually, Speners also found the box the way to the royal court in Denmark, and also among others King Frederik IV (1671–1730) in Copenhagen. It was this king who sent Hans Egede (1686 – 1758) to Greenland as the church’s «pagan missionary».
Thomas von Westen (1682 – 1727), who was a parish priest on Veøy outside Molde, traveled to the northern areas, learned Sami and preached the gospel.
Much can be said about both Egede and Westen. They were undoubtedly children of their time, but both were marked by the pietistic revival, and did what no one else had done before; namely, preaching the gospel to people who were completely unfamiliar with the name Jesus.
When the first Norwegian mission organization, Det Norske Misjonsselskap (NMS) was established in 1842, it was to revivals that inspired the start-up.
In Germany, the revival that began in 1727, led by Count Zinzendorf in the small German town of Herrnhut, had led to the first missionary movement in Protestant Europe.
It is said that the Herrnhuts sent several missionaries from its context over the course of a generation, but what all the Protestant churches had done together over the course of 200 years after the Reformation.
In addition, the Hauge Revival in Norway had characterized our country for over 40 years when NMS was started. Both of these two revivals were a source of inspiration for the start-up of NMS.
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Northern Europe’s largest mission organization, the Norwegian Lutheran Missionary Association, was also established in times of revival – and especially in revivals that went over Bergen and the environment around Bethlehem, in Bergen’s Inner Mission, since the 19th century.
The women who started NLM had experienced salvation themselves, and we could offer the same message to the million who lived without God and the hope of eternity in China.
Youth in Mission, the organization I work for, was established in the waves around and other revivals, namely the Jesus revival in the 1970s. Young people who started Youth in Mission in 1972 had experienced the power of the gospel themselves, and it is important to give the same to others.
Today, countries such as South Korea, Brazil, Nigeria and the Philippines are known for great revivals.
We who work with missions know that these countries have also become pioneers in international missionary work. The sender has many addicts and many like just a few years ago that would not be used.
Mission is no longer something that happens from the West to the rest – it goes from everyone to everyone.
And this is how mission history is written: Mission is no longer something that can be changed from the West to the rest – it goes from everyone to everyone.
For example, Youth in Mission has been working in Bangladesh for many years. And who has led this work? Yes, to missionaries from Papua New Guinea and Samoa, respectively. Together they have led our work in this country for almost three decades – two countries that have experienced extensive revivals in recent decades.
The fact that the number of missionaries from Norway is declining is, of course, a matter of strategy. It is in fact the case that Norwegian mission money, which previously went to pay Norwegian missionaries, today goes to pay national employees.
At the same time, I think this does not give the whole picture. I think something is also about lack of spiritual life and revival in Norway.
It has always been the case that the need for people who are excluded from the gospel has led to individuals leaving their homelands to convey “the best message in the world” to those who have never heard it before.
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And when we look at history, there are often revivals that are involved in creating this distress.